Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Trail of Three Pairs

First Pair - Bag Feet

The clock struck 7.30am so I went into the porch  donned my trail shoes wrapped my crusty muddy feet in bags and waited for Jerry who pulled up just moments later. I hopped in and off we went towards Knockholt. 

Second Pair - Monkey Feet

Immediately we were onto the trails and swampy muddy boggy fields... 'this could get messy' were the thoughts running through my head as Jerry bounded along shouting 'I love my monkey feet' every few steps. 

As we approached a farm we were approached by a happy, friendly little pup who gleefully welcomed us. Before long he was joined by another (not sure a white poodle cross breed is the best farm dog) who jumped around giddily wanting to play and followed us through the mud. We waved good morning to their owners - who were tending their donkey in a shed, how very seasonal - and went on our way, although they did try and follow us for a while. The dogs, not the owners. 

As we found our pace and trotted happily along we opted for a new pathway (much to Jerry's dismay as it meant we couldn't run where he wanted along a disused railway track). But every cloud as they say... we passed a bridge that along with a large dolphin mounted out of the water, also a small monkey hanging from the bridge, much to Jerry's monkey-footed delight!

We passed a pub which we had attended along with badgers on a previous night run, not the witches cottage though - this can only be found after dark under a full moon. Onwards we continued towards Chevening Church where Jerry had a chat about the geology of the area with a bewildered looking old fella, while I caught up then patted his dog.

The terrain began to get more hilly as we headed back towards Knockholt and the car. I was beginning to struggle with my bruised ribs still giving me a little gip. Jerry was edging ahead up the hill but came to a stop to wait for me, I saw my chance... unable to talk for being out of breath I walked towards him holding out a Reisen chocolate chew (this would slow him down). Jerry took the chocolate and I encourage him to eat as we walked up the hill. There are not many who can chew a cold toffee and run up a hill. It was a sneaky little tactic but I was not covert in my mission I needed the break and it worked!

Third Pair - Muddy Trail Feet

We passed over the infamous stile from the ORR Chevening run and I imaged all the runners queuing to get over and thought how lovely it would be to have a little break at this point if in the group running up the hill.

We were now well and truly homeward bound with less than 2 miles to go. We emerged onto a road and Jerry began scanning around. It was clear he was up to no good and I asked him if he was about to sneakily add on additional miles, he denied this albeit with a sheepish look on his face.My fears were unfounded though as we crossed the field and emerged back by the car. Nine miles done, covered in mud but thoroughly pleased to make it out. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Just think of the cake..... mmmm cake

Mmmmm Family Recipe Christmas Fruit Cake!
Slipping nicely back into a good exercise regime, post illness, post Christmas I am feeling good and positive about regaining my fitness.

After the run yesterday morning I coped much better than I thought despite the heavily laden belly I now carry along with me. It was my second PT session tonight post illness and after last weeks performance I was confident I would be fine.

Little did I know that tonight Emma's sadistic side would emerge and she would enforce the same pain on me that Sammi (her sister) had forced on her yesterday in some crazy aussie, power session... my legs were jelly. Not to mention that my arms were already shaking furiously after a set of arm work. Maybe last weeks success was a fluke or maybe Emma was taking it a little easy on me. Either way I need to get back on with it and push hard, at least I have done it before and can do it again.

We couldn't handle the cake yesterday so I had promised to bring along some of my famous family homemade super duper brandy soaked christmas cake (see above). Finally after the session the cake and a cuppa were in sight and did we need it... did we ever!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Run

Our bellies were bloated and our legs filled with prosecco but our will was strong and a slightly later start of 9am helped us to keep the motivation to go for a Boxing Day run!
I went to the meeting point and moments later I say a crazed Emma D bounding down the hill, arms flailing and shouting Merry Christmas... this may be tougher than expected!
We set off into Scadbury Woods and before long came across a few fellow PWRs, we stopped to wish each other the tidings of the season before commencing our runs through the woods. With plenty of runners and dog walkers out on this lovely morning we were constantly waving and calling greetings to one and all. We headed off into Petts Wood and then via Sainsburys to collect a few carrier bags to protect Emma's car from our muddy feet on the way back. Run 4 back into running after my rib problems and I seem to be going well, lets hope I can keep it up.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Rib Crack Away

Oh the Deadwood Stage is a-rollin' on over the plains

With the curtains flappin' and the driver slappin' the reins
A beautiful sky, a wonderful day
Rib crack-away, rib crack-away, rib crack-away

On my previous post I mentioned a severe pain in my side as I felt my rib twang. I was later to discover that this meant my rib had popped out of place due to all the aggressive coughing that had been going on over the last few weeks. This Christmas morning as I turned over in bed I felt a loud pop from deep within my right side. The rib was back in place... thank you Santa for this Christmas miracle!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Twas the day before Christmas

...and all in the house nobody stirred, oh except the 3 who had decided to get up early and go for a muddy run in the woods!
Within moments we realised that this mud was perhaps not the most conducive to speed but as we were running the trail and included a few hills it was determined that this was good following the weekend's indulgence and more to come later as we were running a slower fat burning pace! 
We looped around Scadbury before emerging onto the road for the last mile, at which point we decided to divert and add another mile to take us up to just over 4 miles. 
A lovely morning run to get the blood pumping and metabolism going before we headed off for day 3 festive eating and Turkey dinner number 2.... yum!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bromley Parkrun - Christmas Traditions

For the past two years myself and my brother have together gone to Bromley Parkrun on Christmas Day morning and run. This year was a little different as he wouldn't be here on Christmas Day so instead we opted for the Saturday before Christmas and also another participant joined us, his girlfriend.
I had awoken to the sound of rain at 4am and thought to myself I hope they don't want to run it will be very muddy. But at 8am when I knocked on the guest room door to wake them they were both still keen to run and stick with this family tradition. A PB had been on the cards but when seeing the weather we knew this was probably a real long shot as much of the course would be waterlogged. 
We finished in good time although not quite a PB for my brother, we were muddy, wet, hot, sweaty but happy we had ventured out despite the weather and kept the tradition alive.
II'll see you two next year, and hopefully for a PB bro! 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

18 Days Later

I had not exercised for 18 whole days, following the unwise decision to do a long run in the cold I was attacked by every vrius and infection going, leaing me bed bound, miserable and unable to sleep. It was a bad time. But today I was back and my first session will take place in doors as I headed of for my personal training session with Emma. 
Unsure how my body would react I arrived early and started a 15minute warm-up run on the treadmill, feeling good we then went into intervals and lots of other weights before more intervals and another set of weights and core stability. Don't get me wrong it was tough and I worked really hard but I absolutely loved every minute of it and was bouncing off the walls for another couple of hours upon returning home. 18 days without exercise is too much  I was ill there was nothing I could do about it but now I am back and must ease in sensibly so as not to waste the enforced rest my body has undergone. 
For those who have commented on the lack of Fibre Runners I do apologise as you will now be bombarded as I update all my runs over the xmas period.
Happy running everyone. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Snap, Crackle and Pop

Today was the first day in many I had actually started to feel like myself again. I didn't want to risk a run but I did do a few household chores. Now through my coughing I had managed to bruise my ribs with the victorious wretchings my body was subjected to. 
So despite my cough easing, today as I reached over for some washing and coughed simultaneously I felt a sharp twang and massive pain in my right side. I had popped out a rib and by golly did that smart.
Looks like another few days before I will be able to run again, gosh darn it. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Practise what you preach

I had been coughing now for a couple of days, my head was foggy and my chest ached, but I had arranged a lovely early morning run which started as Me and Eleanor, then came Jerry, Emma G and Karien. I woke to a frosty morning and not feeling great but hating to let the others down I donned my kit and headed to our meeting place. I was determined to run and felt that if I couldn't make the full run I could always do an out and back.

We headed off down Leesons Hill - in Jerry's immediate running excitement taking the wrong road immediately - we were soon back on track and heading up a road I had never before run. After a mere 2 miles I was coughing my way up a hill but thought it would clear soon enough, my legs and stamina were fine if only this blasted cough would leave me be. 

Another mile further on we reached a scabby old corrugated iron gate that was hanging off its hinges  Jerry named this Liz's Gate -charming!

Onwards and upwards we went, through fields, over railways bridges and deep in the countryside before popping out in Crockenhill at which point I declared I was heading back home. We reached a white post and Jerry explained to us all about how these were Coal Tax posts and they were situated across the valley, we thought maybe that would be a good goal to find them all and provide a very interested route for a run... maybe not one for today though. 

After a momentary discussion and Jerry saying he'd take it easy I was easily swayed into continuing. As we entered a filed rutted and frozen solid I knew it had been a mistake, then as we circled it again I was sure... I need to be home but another 7 miles lay ahead of me. Oh dear, we continued on but by now my coughing was ridiculous and Eleanor had hurt her knee negotiating the frozen ground. 
By the time we were nearly homeward bound I had the brainwave to head to the burger van in the Homebase car park for a bacon butty and a cup of tea.... it was the only good idea I had had this morning. We ate them and started towards home being passed by a surprised looking observer in a car - I suspect he may be from the club and wondered why so much lycra for bacon butty's! The final mile was a slow plod fuelled by bacon and tea.

So to summarise when you feel ill, take the rest day, take the bacon butty but do not go running for the best part of 14 miles. Thanks for looking after me guys!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Gone Clubbing

Once again I arrived home early enough to eat and have a couple of hours relaxing before going to running club. This can be fatal, as I sat snuggled up on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, a purring cat on my lap and the sound of rain falling on the roof I did not want to go back out.
But checking the weather it promised the rain would be over by 8pm so I told myself to man up, get changing and get out with the club. So donning some full length tights and a high viz jacket I departed into the cold (but thankfully dry) night.

Tonight we had another group leader variation with Sian leading the way and Ray bringing up the rear. At first there was a little confusion as two groups kept crossing into one another but before long we had edged ahead and were on our way. My legs felt heavy and sore for the first 2 miles as I contemplated ditching and going back the way I came. Instead I got chatting which is always a very good distraction and one of my favourite things about running on a Tuesday night and before I knew it another two miles had passed, then another and we were homeward bound. 

Finally my legs felt at one with my body and I stepped up the pace for the final stretch sprinting home and then saying some quick hello's to faces from the other groups. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Wiltshire Smiles

After a lovely meal out with after staying with friends last night I was the first to wake as is quite usual these days being unable to have a decent lie-in before the urge to run takes over my body and wakes me up.
I departed quickly and quietly at a decent pace, although this soon deteriorated as I reached an incline... oh dear the wine and rich food was not best chuffed I had chosen to disturb it so soon. I soldiered on wishing good morning to the friendly folk of Wiltshire - and when I say friendly they really were. No eye avoidance and looking the other way. Everyone was so friendly, runners, walkers and cyclists alike. Maybe I was a pitiful sight but nevertheless I was pretty pleased with this Sunday morning attitude of the locals. Perhaps this is the difference when living in a village?
Whilst the run was relatively short in length there was plenty of lovely hills, fields and woods to gaze upon so it was a nice way to start my day before a sleep in the car on the way home... well I had been for a run!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Something Old, Something New

Nothing Borrowed, but my trainers are Blue! 

The morning was grey and foggy with damp drizzle filling the air, I set out solo after failing to find anyone willing to run early and far on a Saturday morning with me. So I popped on my headphones filled mostly with songs from Glee and a lot of cheesy pop. I set off on a familiar route (something old) but before long decided to take a detour, and then another and then I decided I would only run for the next few miles on roads that I had never run on before (something new) regardless of whether or not I knew where they went. 

My fail safe to ensure this new technique of non-route planning did not end in catastrophe was to make sure that if I hit the halfway mark on my planned distance I would then just go back the way I came until I once again recognised the area... that failing my their technique is to check where the buses are going and head towards somewhere familiar. 

So onwards I went, nodding my greetings to pedestrians and fellow runners as I passed them by whilst occasionally signing out loud to my music - one of many reasons I shouldn't listen to music whilst running. Upon hitting my halfway point I was thankfully in familiar surrounds so I decided to head down through Norman Park and see all the Movember Parkrunners trotting along sporting a variety of tashes. Sadly I was too late to join the run and headed through the park and out the other side towards home. 

By now my legs were feeling a bit heavy and tired, the thought of getting back home into the warm and having a nice big cuppa was keeping me going though. The end of my route I had a decision to make option (1) add a loop to take me over 16 miles (2) run straight down St Pauls Wood Hill and home, a little shy of my planned 16 miles but also a big downhill for my very tired legs. Option 2 prevailed and I did a little over 15 miles at a decent ace including a few hills all of which I tacked with relative ease. My endurance training has officially begun.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Old School Club Run

The bridge is now open, hooray! I can now avoid the long and convoluted diversion to reach running club. With this in mind I ended up leaving late which meant hardly any parking spaces were available. I found one and headed toward the cub meeting point, argh, I was still wearing my glasses... back to the car I went. As I returned the groups were departing. The first one came towards me... "which group?" I called "5, join us"... hmmm "no thanks I keep looking..." next group was 4 and being led by Karen, perfect!

Off we headed straight up Birchwood before heading don towards Orpington, up Sevenoaks Way, back down to the other end of the High Street and again up the savage hill past the Station. I paired up with Janet (now my good luck charm since she pulled my name from the VLM draw) and we pushed up the hill together. It was suggested that maybe I should carry her on my back as a thank you!!
Before long we were on the home stretch and a few of us began to stretch our legs out and increase our speed for the 3/4 mile. Just shy of 6 miles this was a really lovely run that reminded Me of the early days with the club, lots of friendly chat and a good catch up with running buddies.

Saying my farewell I texted hubby to announce my imminent arrival and so he could put the Wimberry Pie in the oven for my post-run treat (collected fresh from Bury, Manchester by my Mother-in-Law). So after a quick freshen up I had pie and ice cream with a nice cuppa for my supper. Oh how easy it would have been to bail this evening after the miserable weather but very glad I didn't.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Downs and Out

I have long said to anyone who asks (and many who don't) that my favourite runs are those when I get out onto the downs with Jerry and Bhundu where we randomly divert down interesting looking paths, listen to Jerry's facts and stories about the surrounds. It had been far too long since our last outing and sadly we were missing our third today but at very late notice last night me and Jerry decided to head out this morning.

Out early we saw the sun rising over the valley. as we passed along a wooded path we encountered 3 men in camouflage gear... Jerry started his jovial chatter before spotting they were all carrying rifles... well maybe airguns. Jaerry demanded a rabbit for breakfast, I just hoped and prayed that we were not about to be thrown into a situation reminiscent of Deliverance.... arghhhhhh!

We escaped the potential danger of bb guns and any kind of banditry to next come upon a field of very angry sounding badgers. Luckily we skirted the field on the road so as not to enrage them further and release their fury upon us invading their grazing area.

The run continue, through field and forest, along path and trail with much random chatter passing the time and the miles away. Crossing over previous routes and identifying a few potential night run drinking holes for the future. We headed up through the churchyard of Seal Church to overlook the valley once again and see from whence we had come.

Back into Otford we came across many piles of flour, creating some sort of trail for scouts we suspected. Until we got carried away about a baker who was forced to walk the trails each morning to collect his flour but there was a hole in his sack and every time he paused a little clump fell out leaving us a trail to follow. We tracked the man leaving the trail before long... well he didn't make it difficult but were still left to wonder what it was all about. Lets hope it doesn't rain.

I had warned Jerry about my lack of mileage at late and what started as a 10 or maybe 12 ended up as a 14 miler. But who can be disappointed with that? It was a good fun run, lots of miles, lots of hills and lots of fun, perfect Sunday morning.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

VLM here we come!

The group run this evening was followed by the PWR London marathon club draw. Entered by many each year the entrants must adhere to entry criteria set out like the Ten Commandments - and quite rightly so!

1. be a paid up members since May 2012

2. have PWR as their 1st claim club

3. certify/have proof that they applied and have been rejected from the official ballot

4. attend in person at the PWR Club draw

5. notify the Chairperson of intent to enter the club draw

6. not be a winner of a PWR club marathon place in 2012.

Will all 6 boxes checked I was ready orange and lemonade and orange juice in hand, propping up the bar awaiting the first name to be drawn from the sack. Tension was rife with 13 hopefuls all with crossed fingers hoping that their name would be the one called out.

The first impartial hand into the draw bag was Janet, she delved deep and brought out a ball wilth a name on it and passed it to the club Chair, Anne. "Liz Romano"...... I was gob smacked, I was actually asking, 'what me, really?'... amazing!

The draw continued with the next names out Angela  who very nearly fell of her seat screaming with excitement and Andy a.k.a Nigel the Squirrel who was also over the moon. We got to together for our group shot, a little in shick but all very much delighted with our good luck, so London 2013 here we come!

Nigel the Squirrel, Angela & Me - VLM lCub Place Winners

Char-lott-a Hills

So after a long absence from Tuesday night runs for too many reasons to mention, I was back!
I was more than happy to tag along with group 3 to try and ease myself back in but after spotting Emma and Karien heading out with group 4 I decided to go for it.
We were led by Charlotte who was popping her cherry as group leader tonight and a great job she did too even if the route took us the 'bad way' up summer hill. I am pleased to announce that I did make it all the way without a walk break which must be a first in a long time, yay me!
Was really great to be back out with the club.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Right Royal Ride

The alarm was going off, Hubby was already up and getting ready. Luckily we had got most things ready for our epic bike ride from Buckingham palace to Windsor Castle (45 Miles) last night so there was little to do when we got up. 

We drove up to London and parked near the Royal Albert Hall, a mid point between the start point and where we we be dropped off later. A two mile warm up and we were at the start line to meet our friends. It was a chilly but dry morning and everyone seemed in good spirits as we made our way to the start line. sending riders off at 2 minute intervals there was no crowding and we started smoothly, cycling towards Buckingham Palace before turning left and heading to the Thames. after 2 miles our super fast cycling buddy left us in his wake and sped off, not to be seen again for a few hours. The remaining 3 of us stuck together for a while longer before our other friend edged away and was lost to us.

"It's a bit misty Deer"
By far the most lovely part of the route was when we entered the delightfully misty Richmond Park. There seemed to be hundreds of wildlife photographers out and you could see why although it was a little alarming when two emerged from the bushes in full camoflage covering themselves and their cameras - bet they got some great shots though this morning! We soon broke and stopped for a picture as a stagged galloped across the round ahead of us then looped back behind, then again further up a path where the mist was low and the deer were hiding out in the trees. So worth it.

Stop don't stop
Whilst gliding through the misty expanses of Richmond Park we reached the first stop at about 10 miles, after a quick exchange we decided we were doing just fine and dandy and would continue on to the next station before stopping which was another 10 miles away. So, now 20 miles into the ride it was time to stop and refuel, we ate banana's and dates, drank plenty. Considered removing a layer but it was still too cold for me, offered my second pair of gloves to hubby in a moment slightly reminiscent of Dumb & Dumber.

Making our way along cournty lanes and through a town (Woking maybe?) we carried on with the banana fuel making its way to our tiring legs, we knew we'd be stopping again at the next station (35 miles). This station was a bit more packed with cyclists, one or two cycled through the masses without stoopping but most took a few mintues out to grab some water and yet more dates. Setting off again, with only 10 miles to go we were worried about one comment from another rider saying the last 10 miles were the worst as there were lots of hills.... argh.... now they tell us!

Crash Bang Wallop
Another 3 miles on and two horrible hills later (both of which we managed without stopping) we were happily cycling along in suingle file as the traffic passed us by and the occasisional other rider. Then Hubby with tried legs tried to overtake me, he slightly misjudged and then I heard a loud shout behind me. I had a moment filled with dread before I turned around as to what I might see. He was in a bit of a heap on the floor, bike on top but the injury appeared to be limited to a scraped knee (lots of blood though), shock and a scraped shoulder - although we didn't know about this until later.

A few riders stopped top make sure he was okay, then aceraining we were together felt happy to leave him to me. A leovely elderly couple then emerged from their house to offer tea and sympathy (well water not tea) but were very lovely and helpful. They also told us about their son who was currently mountain biking in France. After a few more tales of their family and Mike appearing to be okay we got back on our bikes and set off tentatively on our way to finish the last 6 miles or so.  

Final Destination
Before long we were entering Windsor, past, Windsor castle, through the town and towards the racecourse, our final destination. We approached the line together, once again doing a lttle bike based Gangnam style dance as we crossed the line (hope the phtoographer caught it!) and we were done! 45 miles over and out! Boom!

Lucky Coach 
We were booked onto a coach later in the afternoon but luckily there were a few no shows and we hopped on one back to central London two hours earlier than our original plan. What a touch! The 2 miles back to the car were a challenge to my now tender rear but we made it and headed for home.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Pump up the weight

Another two days off since my weak efforts and Spin on Wednesday and I didn't really want to do no strength work this week so I popped along to Saturday morning Pump. Class was busy and I was feeling ready to work. I upped my weights on most sections, not without a little arm shaking but all in all this PT is most definitely paying off!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Concrete Spin

Two days for some unknown reason seemed like sufficient rest for my legs following a solid performance at the Brussels Half marathon on Sunday so I was up before the sun and arrived early for Wednesday morning spin class with Jackie. Only it wasn't with Jackie, it was with Mark.
Now there is nothing wrong with Mark as an instructor but Mark isn't aware that I run and I feel that he felt I was really struggling, in fact I looked pretty novice in the ways of spin this morning. Firstly I couldn't get my cleat attached to the pedal, after many tries the man next to me said oh yeah that one is broken, I had trouble yesterday (brilliant). So then already in the first track I was switching bikes, trying to adjust the seat height, then the handlebars and then getting my feet back in. Then I joined in, the routine was slightly different and I did my best but if I were to be brutally honest I wanted to go back home to bed, my legs ached and it felt like I was cycling in concrete boots. 
I made it through to the end and saw the pity on Mark's face... I told him I had just run a half marathon and then he was more impressed that pitying - why this matters I have no idea.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Brussels Welcomes.... PWR

I was looking forward to my trip to Brussels for months and when I planned it I just booked the half as something to do to keep me out of my brothers hair for a few hours after descending on him to stay for a long weekend.

Upon arrival on Friday morning, my steely determination embedded through my personal training to push myself harder had deteriorated as we ate out for every meal, drinking cocktails, and supplementing this between meal times with numerous treats from the many chocolatiers in Brussels. 

Drinking bubbly on Saturday night as we ate cheese and some Lebanese food I started to wonder what was really possible in the half marathon. The most important thing to me was a visit to see my big bro and the half was an added bonus but that didn't mean I wasn't going to give it a good go.

Arriving silly early at the start line I was happy that I hadn't missed the start of the marathon, I positioned myself so that I could see fellow PWR runners Rob and Sonja, before long there was a loud echoing crack of a cannon and the marathon had begun, before long I saw the others and gave them a shout out.
The next 90 minutes was pretty boring but stress free as I pootled around trying to stay warm in the sun (although it was about 5 degrees). 

I lined up to start near an older man who started chatting to me in French, I did my best but I'm sure asking where the bank was or if he could give me a cheese and ham sandwich wouldn't have been the greatest help at this point! Throughout the race he was to appear several more times on my heels shouting ahhhh madam and waving at me.

The first challenge, not forgetting the cobbles was the many tunnels we passed through, it was a bit like a scene from 28 days later and I had to remember these were not Zombies chasing me but fellow runners. Still I think I did up my speed a little just in case someone tried to eat my flesh. This played havoc with my Garmin but it seemed to sort itself out each time I emerged. I am doubtful, however, that my top running speed was indeed 26mph.

The water stations were well supplied and even had bananas at one stop. This concerned me though as banana's (if every cartoon ever made is to be believed) are a disaster if on the road and it is only a matter of time before someone slips, as they are notorious for this so I proceeded with caution for fear of flying upright and landing on my butt with a thud as little birds began to twitter around me head as I sat dazed. I made it through unscathed.

I had said to my brother the night before that if I approached the finish line and a PB was not going to be possible then I would Gangnam Style dance across the finish line. My opportunity came sooner than this at about 19km when I had a clear run at a photographer so began my funky moves. He got the shot and also had a good old chuckle... pleased to have made him smile and fulfilled my promised I continued with a big smile on my face... not far to go. 

Before long we hits cobbles on the course again and I was forced to slow a little for the sake of safety but knowing how close we were was giving me a speed boost. I had run well and strong throughout, as I turned into the Grand Place and the final stretch I saw my brother there to cheer me on bring a huge smile to my face. Knowing he was there to support I once again danced gangnam style over the finish line and collected my medal.

I had the course a little long but overall this was the second best haf marathon time I had run and with no where near the run training I would normally do so I was delighted and we celebrated in the Hard Rock cafe with more cocktails! Great race and will def be back for more!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Early to bed, early to rise

...and it is so simple but so true. Last night I could barely keep my eyes open and as it approached 9 I was already brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. The advantage or some might think disadvantage of this was that I awoke early this morning, whilst it was still dark and before the alarm. However  it was almost alarm time so I got up, got into my kit and set out for some early morning intervals. 
Of late I have been doing most of my intervals in the gym on the treadmill, for no reason other than the treadmill is dull and running intervals makes it a little less so. But last week and this morning I went to my favourite little private road to do my 6 x 400m. As ever barely a car in sight, what with it being so early and no through route so no reason for the early commuters to venture onto my own private running track. Intervals really do make the time fly and before I knew it I was back home and energised for the day ahead... lets see how long that lasts before I am ready for a nap!!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

What Doesn't Kill You

Early this morning I was feeling good and really up for Body Pump... as they day drew on I started to become very lethargic and yawning a ridiculous amount. Time ticked by and soon enough it was time to leave and head to the gym, by now it was too late to cancel so I just needed to man-up and get on with it. 
Our instructor arrived - damn her amazing six pack - and announced that this would be the first week of the new body pump release (number 83), she had mentioned a couple of weeks ago and I was quite glad to be here for week 1 of the new release. I added some extra weight to my bar - the personal training sessions are definitely paying off  - and ploughed through the session determined to make the most of it now I was here. By the end I felt a little like a bowl full of jelly with my shaky arms and legs but you know what, I really like jelly so it just didn't matter!
I loved the new release, although I will always miss my favourite pump track (Pink - Raise your glass) I was quite chuffed with one of the new ones from Kelly Clarkson - What doesn't kill you.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The animals of Petts Wood

Back on plan today and it stated 9 miles in 1:18:00 I was a bit suspicious about my ability to do this and opted to slow it down a little changing my Garmin to the same distance in 1:25:00. I had woken fairly early and surprisingly up for a run despite the copious amounts of meat I had eaten last night at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The satellites were not up as early as me which was frustrating so I set off before they could catch on, I was slightly disheartened as the pace seemed quite slow so I pushed and pushed, before long I was running at about the right pace for the original plan so wondered how long I could keep it up.
The pace was much easier to maintain then I thought it would be and I happily ran along and did a bit or bird spotting..... there were magpies, wood pigeons, jays, parakeets. It felt a bit like the Animals of Farthing wood as I went along with birds, squirrels and foxes going about their Sunday morning routines!
The time seemed to fly by and before long I was well past halfway with only 2 miles to go until home. Sadly the last mile was mostly an incline but I kept a decent pace and was soon coasting along my road to the front door. My post run re-fuel was poached eggs on Marmite toast and a nice cuppa. Oh and the time 1:18:40 so I think this bodes well for the Brussels half marathon next weekend. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Winging It

So half of our palace to palace team set out on a bike ride today, carefully planned by me... oh and when I say half just me and hubby. We wanted a route of about 30 miles and this is what I carefully prepared with a mix of hills and flats and some nice countryside. We set off up Sevenoaks Way, a tough long upward slog towards Badgers Mount where we did in fact see some badger road kill (bad times). 
There were many other cyclists out on the roads today and all a friendly bunch, or maybe it was pity in their hello's as they passed us and became a speck in the distance before disappearing altogether. Soon enough we reached Sevenoaks  about 12 miles into our journey, we passed along the High Street and kept our eyes peeled for out next turning as we ventured into unfamiliar territory. So unfamiliar that hubby missed the turn and went flying down a huge hill - despite my best efforts to scream at him to stop he as gone and I had no choice to descend for over a mile to catch him up and give him the bad news... the turning was back up the hill. It was not something that either of us wanted to face. Luckily we spotted a sign to Penhurst so we decided instead to head their, then follow the Penhurst to Tonbridge trail before getting the train home again. This was a great idea as we stopped for a quick cuppa and some flapjack before hitting the trail. We saw many riders taking part in the castle triathlon series and encouraged them on up the incline we had just descended. 
Before long we had done 28 miles and were at Tonbridge station waiting for a our train. Happily we chugged along and soon departed and started to cycle the last 4 miles home..... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... came the shout from up ahead. Hubby had left his bag on the train, we hot-footed it back to the station and I waited with the bikes whilst Hubby chased over the platforms trying to call ahead and find the bag. We left our number and headed back knowing there was not much more we could do. By the time we had reached home and made a few more calls there was a call to say the bag had been handed in and was at Charing Cross.... massive relief for both of us and as we had planned to go uptown not a huge problem. Thanks goodness someone found it.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pretty Tired (emphasis on P and T)

Release date for tickets tbc
...but is was still my personal training session tonight and this is not something I can or will cancel. 

Emma works me hard, much harder than I would ever work myself and I really enjoy it every time. 

The best thing about this is that I can see and feel it working. I am getting stronger and faster and even maybe there is a slight hint of muscle in my previously flaccid upper arms. 

It won't be long I'm sure until I can put the tickets to the gun show on general release but right now there is still work to be done!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Rain rain go away

Sore legs (from weekend) and rain conspired against me last night and gave me sufficient reasons (excuses) not to go out... in fact that coupled with my friend coming to stay meant that staying in was really the only feasible option.
The trade off though was that I would get up early and go and do intervals this morning and I did it! It took me no time at all to get out of bed and into my kit but it did take a little longer to build up the momentum to leave the house. My plan was 10 x 200m and for the first time in ages this would happens on the roads and not the gym, I was actually looking forward to it!
As it happens I was right to, I performed well and fairly consistently, I didn't need my waterproof as the rain held off and the private road I had selected saw only one car for the duration of my session. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ferry Sweet Ride

After my successful and slightly tough hilly bike ride last Sunday with the Breeze ladies I signed up once again to go with the same group up to 'Breeze in the Park' at Victoria Park in London. I met with Jill and Collette at Danson park and we chatted as we waited for some others who did not show (naughty first timers) and off we went on our merry way. It was a cool morning and overcast, we knew the rain was coming but we didn't know when it would arrive. 
As we arrived in Woolwich (descending a very steep hill which I knew would be back to slap us in the face later)  we ventured down some dodgy looking roads and found the secret entrance to the Woolwich foot tunnel. Unlike Greenwich there is no lift but also no tourists so we lugged our bikes down the 124 step winding staircase. We followed most instructions on the sign at the entrance... no spitting, no shouting, no animal fouling but as the tunnel was empty we hopped on peddles and scooted through. The other end was a bit tougher and I was sent first with my bike up the winding and seemingly never ending staircase. We emerged like moles squinting and puffing but that was the tough bit done!
The journey continued and we cycled along the Thames path - stopping briefly to watch the cyclist of the London Triathlon - until we reached Victoria Park and met up with the other Breeze ladies, we were given cakes, sweets, croissants and hot drinks and chatted to some of the others. As we prepared to head back the rain arrived as did 4 young scallys to see what they could get from the tent - we hung around looking disapprovingly as they received a water bottle, apple juice and lots of sweets, stickers and goodness knows what else until finally the leader of the pack stated 'come on lads I think we're taking the pi$s now' - we heartily agreed and they were sent packing with their haul.
All aboard for sweet tea
Happy that the danger of young boys had left we did a lap around the park and started back along the route we had come. We passed the cyclists of the London Triathlon once again and this time went to the Woolwich Ferry. Sadly we had just missed one and were forced to stand cold and wet waiting on the windy dock. Finally the ferry arrived and we were ushered on, before long one of the ferry worker appears with a cuppa, we made a little joke about where was ours, which happily resulted in me getting his cuppa, it had sugar in it but as this point the old classic 'I'm sweet enough already' may have deterred him from giving me that sweet hot beverage. With my numb hands and cold core this was not something I was going to risk. So, yes I was told 'never to take sweeties from strangers' but not specifically 'never to take Sweet Tea from strangers' so I made an exception! I was after all, cold, wet and really wanted a cup of tea - sugar or no sugar.
We departed the ferry, somewhat warmer and ready to tackle the uber hill that awaited us... I made it all the way to the top, I used pretty much all the gears and my thighs were burning but I did it. maybe the sweet tea helped?
By this point although warmed up the rain was beginning to feel relentless and I could only focus on getting home and into a hot bath. I left the others at our meeting point and continued the final 5 miles alone. Finally back and warmed up I was in good spirits.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Foot Stray

Somewhat haphazard in my training of late it dawned on me that I had a half marathon creeping up on me in two weeks time,. I checked my plan and much to my surprise I was due to run a 14 mile route this weekend... this wouldn't be such a problem but I had also already booked onto another Breeze Bike Ride on Sunday morning and I did not want to miss it. So an early Saturday morning run it was.
I planned the route and about 4 miles in I decided to change it, another mile later I had to detour via A&E... no emergency before you worry but very nearly a little accident. Sadly many runners do suffer from something known as runners trots - I won't go into detail but its not a nice thing and usually quite unexpected and immediate. This time I was safe!
I got back to my detoured route and took random twists and turns as the urge took me trotting through the lovely Foots Cray Meadows, full of hundreds of dog walkers at this time on a Saturday morning. Through the park and out the other side, past a mini outdoor gym and then I rounded back through Bexley and headed towards home. My legs were started to complain a little by now but I was managing to keep my pace steady trying to wish away the last couple of miles using my ipod to distract me. I was so close to home (less than 1/2 mile) and yet I stopped again... this time for nourishment, a banana milkshake and orange juice and then I was home, I made it, now time to relax.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Near Every Conference....

...venue there really should be somewhere to run and whilst hotel staff are usually pretty useless when it comes to advising of a good local route I was lucky enough to have a work colleague who was prepared to come and meet me early and squeeze in a quick 10km before work started proper (I say proper as we inevitably talked work for most of the run).
Exiting the hotel situated quite close to the NEC and Birmingham international airport we quickly reached a country lane and after a while were able to divert down a canal tow-path. Beautiful morning for it and also lovely to see so many canal boats moored up. Ah that's the life eh!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bachhus Half Marathon: Double Coleslaw!

Final Push
Way back when I got a message from my favourite Aunty who said she had just signed up to the Bachhus Half Marathon... hosted at Denbies Winery in Dorking there was to be snacks and wine at the water stations and plenty of fancy dress. It seemed like a great idea to get more people involved and make this a real fun family event!

We set about recruiting and got our number to 6 one of whom was gifted the entry as her Birthday present - not sure if it was ion her list or not!!

As the day grew closer I knew my training meant a PB was not on the cards but least of all because the course was multi-terrain and hilly (this we found to be an understatement as hills were all there were... hills and sunshine).
As we lined up at the start line, our team of spectators led by my Mum (armed with her camera to film the start) we waiting to cheer us on. The sun pounded down on already at 28 degrees with no cloud cover. This was going to be a toughie.
I was running with 'Cousin Jacqueline' as her pacer and towards the end probably a task master but I think she has forgiven me. The start was packed and moving slowly so it took almost two miles before anyone could hit a steady pace. By this time we had already reached the first water station - thankfully the 'hot weather' plan was in operation and there were plenty of fuelling stations jam packed with water, wine, crisps, pretzels, raisins, jelly babies, energy gels and fresh fruit! Never before have I encountered such a smorgasbord during a race. As it was so hot we made the most of these stations and made sure we were properly fuelled and hydrated before setting off again in the blistering heat.

Proud at the finish!
The hills kept coming and were relentless, the worst of which was an incline of varying degrees of difficulty that went on for over 1.5 miles - a real test. As we reached the water station just after halfway the first of the full marathoners past us, looking strong but very hot indeed. The fancy dress was impressive and we passed smurfs, bumble bees, pirates, cavemen to name a few! The best in my option were the team of four who went as bunches of grapes who I later discovered won the fancy dress prize. They were pretty awesome!

After the halfway point we were still way to hot but more accepting and knew for sure that we would finish with the targeted time for Jacqui's first half marathon. We kept plugging away and gradually the miles disappeared beneath our feet and finally we reached the downhill to counter all the uphill’s at around 2 miles from the end. We glided down the hills - being tall and having long legs had a real advantage for us here. The distance was diminishing and it was hard to believe we had made it through the desert like conditions.

Crossing the last stretch with about 500m to go we ran through the vineyard passing many runners who were feeling the heat badly. We stepped up the pace getting faster and faster, with about 200m to go I instructed Jacqui to give it everything she had and finish strong, we ran hard together and crossed the line in triumph.

Running this race together was a fantastic experience, suffering the heat and coming through strong at the end was a real achievement for all. We helped ourselves to fruit and drinks at the finish then joined our team of supporters to cheer in the other runners. With all our runners home safe we tucked into our hog roast and wine with double helpings of coleslaw for those bold enough to demand it.

Amazing day!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

PWR Beginners Group - Week 8, ready to run!

The last training session for our round 2 of beginner runners from the Tuesday night training. Really impressive turn out with still over 20 runners turning up and ready to go.

A few nervous faces at the start with the prospect of running for 20 minutes with stopping but by the time the warm-up and drills were completed most of those fears had tumbled away - or were at least a little more hidden beneath the pink cheeks!

The group split into 4 smaller groups each manned by two PWR volunteers to take the runners out of the rec on our regular route. The group I was with hot their 1 minute walk break shortly up the hill in the woods much to their disappointment but at least they got to walk some of this tough part before the final running section.

We returned to the rec in perfect timing and set about our stretches once all the runners were back. All that's left now is to get to Parkrun on Saturday and put this all into practice and try to run the whole route without stopping!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

PWR Beginners Week 7 - Round 2

Unbelievably we have now reached week 7 on the second group of Tuesday evening beginners running groups! Amazing and still looking strong with 20 participants sticking it out for the course. Only 1 more training week to go before we all head off to Bromley Parkrun for the final event... a 5km run!

The group was split into 4 smaller groups dependant on pace with two very kind volunteers from the club going with each group to keep them motivated and on pace.

The run was 1 min walking / 10 mins jogging repeated 3 times, we headed out of the rec and began our route on the pavement before hitting some trails and woods to give a variety of terrain to these newbie runners. On talking to the runners some were finding the second rep easier whereas others liked the first slot of running. The group stuck together well and were amazed that we had done 2 miles already at the second walk break. My group went slightly over to an 11 minute run to finish off which took us up to 3 miles exactly... I was very proud and so were the runners who couldn't quite believe they had gone so far.